Lieutenant Edward John Lowry Turner, MC

 

 

Edward Turner was born on 20 July 1877 at Adavoyle, near Newry, County Armagh, the first of eleven children of farmer Charles Turner and his wife Nancy (née Lowry).

Turner enlisted in the Royal Irish Fusiliers (No.5876) at Newry on 2 February 1897. Posted to the 2nd Battalion, he served in South Africa in the Boer War from October 1899, before being wounded in action at Pieter's Hill and Irish Hill on 27 February 1900. He returned to the UK on 9 April that year. Turner again served with the 2nd Battalion in South Africa from April 1902, then in India from January 1903 until January 1905, when he returned to the UK and was posted to the Army Reserve. On 1 February 1909 he was discharged on completion of his twelve years' service.

At the time of the 1911 Census Turner was living as a boarder at 67 Farnham Street, Belfast, and working as a Harbour Police constable.

On 23 October 1914 he enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron (No. UD/99) and was soon after promoted to the rank of sergeant. He sailed for France on 6 October 1915 with the squadron, which was then serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division.

In 1916 Turner applied for a commission and was sent to No.7 Officer Cadet Battalion at the Curragh on 29 May. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 25 September 1916 and was posted to the 10th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Soon after he was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, joining it in the field on 20 December. He became the battalion's transport officer in August 1917 after the Battle of Langemarck.

Turner was awarded a Military Cross for his actions during the withdrawal from St Quentin in March 1918, the citation reading:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. This officer, in charge of the transport, never failed to bring rations to the battalion during a weeks fighting. One day he brought up ammunition when it was urgently required, bringing it through a heavy barrage, and through villages which were being shelled, and getting his limbers safely back. His courage and judgement resulted in him keeping his transport intact.

Turner was promoted to lieutenant on 26 March 1918. 

On 12 April during the fighting at Neuve Eglise he was seriously wounded in the left lung by a rifle bullet, the battalion diary for the day reading:

Enemy attacked, pressing back our line. Counter attack completely restored position. Casualties heavy, including Medical Officer, Lieutenants Hamilton, Hardy and Miller killed. Captain Dean, Lieutenants Turner and Orr wounded.

Turner was evacuated to England on 3 May and was sent to the Fishmongers’ Hall Hospital, London Bridge, later being moved to “The Old Vicarage”, Tadworth, Surrey.

He relinquished his commission due to ill-health caused by his wounds on 1 May 1919, having been granted a wound pension from 12 April 1919.

On 27 November 1918 Turner married Daisy Hobbs at St Paul's Church of Ireland Parish Church, Gilford, County Down. By 1957 they were living at 9 Finaghy Park, South Belfast, Edward working as a publican. He died on 31 December that year.

 

This image, part of a group photo of officers and NCOs of the squadron, appeared in the Belfast Evening Telegraph of 28 January 1915. The full image can be seen here.